Monday, June 28, 2010

DIY: Nuts Are the New Beads

I was in my father's basement storage room a few days ago and found myself staring for a good minute at the shelf where the spare nuts and bolts and washers were kept. Except, I didn't see spare hardware; I saw shiny metallic objects with holes I could put thread through; I saw beads! I've always wanted to experiment with beading, and this seemed like a fun place to start.

potential sartorial treasures in my dad's bodega

Partly inspired by Baartmans and Siegel's jet-beaded collar and that Prada collection where they did bags decorated with nuts and bolts (Fall 2007), the process for this DIY project flooded my brain in a flash. I could almost see the finished product while staring at those repurposed plastic soda bottles filled with hardware knick-knacks.

This white dress shirt wasn't getting as much wear as the other more well-made white dress shirts in my closet. However, it had a collar stiff enough to withstand solid metal beading.

white shirt from Zara

I used an assortment of nuts and washers of varying shapes and sizes, and for a touch of Filipino pride, bright copper five-centavo coins as accent pieces.

I started beading the outline of the collar, doing a running stitch along the border, adding a bead on every stitch. I tried not to put any identical beads beside each other, and made sure to lock the stitch every so often to prevent the entire beadwork from coming off in case a thread breaks.

I then filled in the spaces and added two to three stitches per nut/washer to secure everything in place.

Took a little breather here, but it was almost done. I tried to place the prettier beads up front. I love rusty rectangular one and the round one with the star cutout.

And here it is, my obra maestra:

shirt collar encrusted with steel and brass nuts, washers, and Philippine five-centavo coins

Here it is worn:

Ray-Ban sunglasses, Jil Sander for Uniqlo coat, DIY shirt with a nut-washer-and-coin-encrusted collar, tailor-made trousers, Club Monaco ring, NDC shoes

This might have been the most technically challenging of my DIY projects yet, and the shirt wouldn't have turned out the same if not for the aid of Maricel and her deft hands. But seeing this result after all that effort leaves me doubly pleased. If I were launching a collection today, this shirt may very well be the star of my finishing look.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Sometimes, all a guy needs to wear is a white button-down and black trousers.

Bailey hat, Ray-Ban sunglasses, H&M shirt, Casio watch, tailor-made trousers, Victoria kung-fu shoes, Prada bag

Photos taken with my brother's easy-background-blur 50mm f/1.8D AF Nikkor lens. Perhaps I should get one for myself?

Superhero Black-tie

Accoutrements for superhero black-tie: stone-encrusted white leather gloves

Karl Lagerfeld x DC Comics "Green Lantern" gloves

and a bowtie with eyes,

Alexis Mabille x DC Comics "Joker" bowtie

to be worn with that perfect black Margiela suit and a made-to-measure white Charvet shirt (that article in the current issue of Man About Town got me sold on the French shirtmaker!), both of which I have yet to purchase.

photos via Colette

Monday, June 21, 2010

DIY: The Painter's Jacket

I was browsing though the clothes I left in Manila and I found this jacket:

Gap khaki jacket

Unworn and plain, it was begging for me to infuse some of my trademark The Dandy Project "globetrotting deranged artist" flavor. I needed a statement jacket for the summer, as most of my more special jackets were fall/winter. This jacket was the perfect warm-weather weight.

My eyes went straight to the pockets, I wanted to highlight them somehow. I decided to frame them like windows, roughly painting around them with a brush and white acrylic.

I used a straight edge to keep the insides of my "windows" somewhat straight and neat.

Then on to the bottom half of the jacket, close to the side pockets. Partly inspired by Yves Saint Laurent, I wanted a hodgepodge of smudges on that area, looking as if the messy painter carelessly wipes his soiled hands on his jacket while he's at work.

YSL Spring 2008

What better way to do that then, but to soil my hands with paint and wipe them on the jacket?

I added a couple of paint splatters to make it look as if he had a few paintbrush fights with his artist-lover.

I enlisted the help of my new dog Frankie to lend her organic imprint on to the canvas.

To jack up the dandy, I wanted a touch of glitter, perhaps suggestive of the artist's glam nightlife. So I employed another of my amateurish painting techniques, glitter-bombs: globs of paint covered in glitter, that I would dry halfway, then pop with my finger to result in thick, textural smudges of paint edged in glitter.

I layered the smears and smudges with a little more color by literally wiping paint-covered hands on the jacket while worn.

When it is complete, the artist signs his piece. (My first signed piece!)
TDP stands not only for "The Dandy Project", but for my last and middle names as well.

a sneaky peek at the finished jacket

the DIY painter's jacket

Here it is worn:

DIY painter's jacket, American Apparel tank, H&M jeans, Victoria shoes

double-watched with one fresh from my brother's drawer (Casio watch, Cartier watch, leather bracelet from Barcelona)

Globetrotting deranged artists in-demand need to keep up with multiple time zones.

runway photo via

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Madame Prada and Me

Prada leather and nylon tote from one of my favorite seasons, stud-crazy Fall 2009

I had an idea of what the perfect leather tote would be, and this one comes pretty darn close. Horizontal, roomy, with small handles and a shoulder strap, and rather spare. I really wasn't in the market for a bag at that time, but the salesman at the Prada boutique in Monaco said that this is the bag Madame Prada carries to work everyday. Needless to say, I was sucked in! He had me at "Madame Prada". Whether or not he says that about every bag in the shop, I'd rather not know.

It isn't the lightest bag ever made, and the hard briefcase handles blister my baby-soft hands. Yet I've been lugging it around non-stop for the past couple of months: all around Europe, back to Boston, then New York, and now, halfway around the world to my hometown of Manila.

I've attached a salad of old-school toys to keep the bag from looking too work-y. (robot keychain from a shop in St. Paul de Vence, Lego keychain, miniature Magnetic Poetry and Etch-a-Sketch toys).

My favorite feature might have to be the bag's closure, of which I am rather anal: the top zips up, yet when unzipped, the zipper teeth fold gracefully inward with the bag's leather "lips" for you to be able to use the bag as an open tote without the teeth scratching the items you take in and out of the bag.

Miss Miuccia, I think your men's line is one of the very very few Milan-based collections worth watching out for. For a profitable and rather mainstream luxury brand, you still manage to design goods directional enough to be at par with the Belgians. Now, if you could kindly resurrect men's Miu Miu, I will love you forever.

runway photos via

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


These images represent the sensibilities that have been inspiring my style for the past couple of weeks, perhaps singlehandedly driven by my purchase of those Victoria kung-fu shoes. I feel like Asians living in Western countries try so hard to dress to assimilate into Western culture that to step out in a look that is so characteristically Asian would be strikingly refreshing.

photos via The Sartorialist

Flowy fabrics, loose bottoms, bold geometric prints, the kimono silhouette of a belted waist, shawl collar, roomy round shoulders that flow into wide sleeves, super-flat shoes, robes as jackets.

On that note, as I type this blog entry, I wait at the gate about to embark on a 21-hour air trek to Asia, to vacation in my hometown of Manila for a couple of weeks. I wouldn't mind having one of these in XXL as an Oriental-luxe plane cover-up:

Shanghai Tang reversible Chinese jacket in black and lime

I dread air travel, and I despise flying economy. Here's hoping my drop-crotch jersey pants keep me comfy and my robot keychain keeps me entertained for 20+ hours in the air.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

need more velvet

After trying them out on the cheap, courtesy of H&M, I've realized how well velvet slippers fit into my life, and now I want more of them. They are worldly, classy, and delighfully eccentric, and the fact they they're slip-ons allows you to look put-together without going through the cumbersome process of tying up lace-ups or buckling up boots. It's lazy luxury and I like it.

Stubbs and Wootton "screw you" velvet slippers: shoes to mark the start of reinvention.

Stubbs and Wootton, quality velvet-slipper-makers since 1993, are old-school, WASPy, and not exactly fashion-y, but theirs are the cleverest velvet slippers I have seen in a long time. I'm a huge fan of slightly mismatched footwear, as seen above, but these symmetrical beauties are also crying for a spot in my cramped shoe closet:

barbed wire embroidery on black linen

"tortoise spice" on beige

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Giddy Blogger

The relationship between bloggers and print media is entertaining to say the least. It's almost like blogging is print's 18-year-old child: blogging, young and creative, seeks to conquer the world on its own, while print is wary of the rapid pace by which blogging is achieving its considerable success. They lambast each other like a dysfunctional family, eager to point out each other's shortcomings. But, that being said, nothing pats a blogger's back as tenderly as recognition by traditional media. I get giddy at the slightest mention of The Dandy Project in a legitimate publication. Having a feature in the papers or in a major magazine feels as if the parent you so sought to defy takes you back in her arms and gives you the approval you've craved for for years. Here are a couple of things that have been getting me feeling giddy and grateful for the past few days.

The first book (at least the first that I know of) on fashion blogs is out, and I am very honored to be a part of it.

Fashion Blogs: the book

In their groundbreaking work, Kirstin Hanssen and Felicia Nitzsche explore the phenomenon of fashion blogging: the people behind them, their motives for blogging, how it changed their life, and how they view the future of print media. The book is divided into five categories: fashion journalism, street style photography, party photography, personal style blogs, men’s style. The book features 34 of the pioneers in fashion blogging; included are: Style Bubble, Garance Doré, A Shaded View On Fashion, Glamcanyon, Sea of Shoes, Stil in Berlin, Abdul Lagerfield, Street Etiquette, Les Mads, The Streethearts, Pretend It Never Happened, Moderniteter, Kate Loves Me, The Dandy Project and many more. 
(via Fashion Blogs)

a peek inside: Susie Bubble, who was a fashion blogger long before the words "fashion" or "blogger" were ever in my vocabulary

Order/pre-order the book on US Amazon, UK Amazon, or d'jonge Hond (Netherlands).

I have also been working on a piece with the Philippines' Preview Magazine, one of the very, very few magazines in my country that do fashion with a capital "F" and do it right, and it's out in the current issue.

the June 2010 cover that was an ode to McQueen (customized sneakers, that's me!)

It was a simple DIY on how to turn a pair of regular white plimsolls into something more black-tie, and though I had to jam the entire DIY process (of planning, sourcing the materials, doing the actual DIY project and photo-documenting it, and finally, writing the article) into exams week, it was a really fun experience.

Find my article in the special section called Preview Men. I really hope this materializes into an actual magazine; there really isn't any men's magazine of this kind in the Phillipine market now.

Daryl, Andre, Vince, Eloise, and everyone at Preview, thanks very very much!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Bleached Blank

glove-print polo by Bleach Catastrophe

For most fellows, summer signals a time to break into color: pastel polos, sherbet-hued shorts, neon trainers. But I don't really think color works for me (save for the occasional burst of primary hues) and so I seize summertime as a chance to don all white, the reverse of my inky wintertime staple. For me, wearing this non-color from head to toe evokes a sort of colonial cool; I can imagine the iconic haciendero or feudal landlord paying a visit to his pineapple farm in the tropics looking strikingly bright in his spotless white getup whilst discussing matters of the ranch with his soiled-clothed subjects.

Ray-Ban aviators, Bleach Catastrophe polo, various jewelry from Margiela and from markets in Amsterdam and Barcelona, H&M jeans, Zara shoes

All white isn't all that hard to pull off. Having patterns on the top works to soften the head-to-toe blankness, and I found that beige shoes or belts marry well with the white without sticking out too much. And unlike the feudal landlord from the 1800s, don't be afraid to get your trousers a little grimey---I think it adds character!

On that note of sticking out in all white, allow me to present Bleach Catastrophe: a Filipino label that, I think, stands out from the pack. Bleach Catastrophe evolved from being a t-shirt focused garment factory into a trove of artistic, interesting pieces. The name was created when the owners were playing this word game "The Exquisite Corpse", a game wherein surrealist painters and 1920's literaries would combine random words to form irrational phrases, and then interpret that phrase into an art piece. The owners finally came up with "Bleach Catastrophe", which reminded them of the experience of having one's favorite t-shirt accidentally stained with bleaching detergents. (via Bleach Catastrophe)

Their pieces range from the clever and wearable,

button-down shirt with jacket-lapel detailing, t-shirt with smudged hem

to the esoteric and mildly disturbing.

t-shirt with centipedes and a bloody growth, short-sleeved shirt with hair print

Goodbye for now as I retreat to the comforts of my summer palace...

(at the Spanish village, Barcelona)

photos not of me via Bleach Catastrophe

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Mister Margiela

I had a moment with Mister Margiela last week. The Somerset House is hosting a Maison Martin Margiela exhibition on Margiela's work over the past 20 years, and if you happen to be in London, I highly recommend that you check it out.

the Somerset House

local kids frolic amongst the fountains on a summer day

Pilgrims to the exhibition are greeted by numerous signs of the event, followed by a series of tabi hoof prints on the floor leading to the exhibition entrance.

a Margielic trailer by the entrance

I was peeved to learn photography was prohibited within the exhibition, it was just so visually rich! However, here are a few snapshots from the inside, via SlamXHype:

full-bang hairpieces used to obscure the models' faces at a fashion show

the iconic tabi foot silhouette

a size 44 dress form used to create conceptual XXXL clothing

The real treasure for me, though, was the guide to the exhibition given upon entry.

Here, many of the recurring themes in Margiela's creations are discussed in-depth, and the story behind them explained. If you've ever found a Margiela piece clever, or haunting, or seemingly multi-layered, but couldn't exactly figure out the logic behind it, the answers to your questions may just be in this guide.

Margielic leitmotifs are explored:

the concept of "incognito"

On paint, a favorite material of mine to work with: "When the garment is actually worn, the paint will slowly start to crack, ultimately making the original color and texture of the item visible again. Here, the designer presents the impossibility of denying history..."

The exhibition runs until the 5th of September, catch it while it's there!

And now, for the first time on The Dandy Project, a CONTEST:

Maison Martin Margiela's 20 years in the business has left an imprint on us all. Leave a comment telling me how Margiela directly or indirectly changed you creatively (e.g. I like to wear XXXL button-downs, or I have a fondness for all-white), plus your e-mail address, and I'll ship a copy of the exhibition guide to the one with the best answer.

EDIT: The winner has been chosen and the guide will be shipped shortly. Thanks for joining!

Related Posts with Thumbnails